Jaik Willis

Jaik Willis

 Chicago, Illinois, USA

Wildly intense acoustic songsmith with a 4 octave vocal range set against a flying V acoustic. Featured in 25+ music festival in 2010 including Bonnaroo, Summer Camp, Schwagstock, Wuhnurth, etc. Unforgettable live show with daring vocal solos, beatboxing, multiphonic singing & blistering guitars


"Jaik is a hardcore troubador somewhere inbetween Steve Earle and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He has wandered around the USA like a modern minstrel, surfing sofas, car camping, and paying dues to sing the blues. It is a high energy solo show featuring Jaik's horn-like voice darting around a blistering broken-string approach to his acoustic flying V guitar, with original songs that are accessible, and message driven"
- (Chicago Jams)

“He has a most unique soaring falsetto and a wild eyes rolled in the back of his head fierce guitar style. He writes original songs, including a fantastic song about Freedom (the gas station). Jaik's sound is somewhere between Anti-Folk and The Band and it is unlike anything I've heard from anyone else. His energy is fierce, his vocal range is inhuman, his beard is long.
You've gotta check this guy out.”
- ( Independent Music Center )

"when you hear his voice with his music, it works. His talent on the acoustic flying V guitar and mandolin is something to behold. He stood alone on the stage, sounding like a full band. The crowd at IBC loved him. The crowd danced to every song and sang along."
- (Rearview Reviews)

"You a bad motherfucker" - (Billy Branch, Chicago blues legend, 11/08)

Jaik is a nationally touring independent performer based in Chicago. He has shared bills with artists such as Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Ani Difranco, Wilco, Bela Fleck, MMW, Del McCoury, NIN, Big Brother & the Holding Company, the Drovers, Leftover Salmon, Merl Saunders, Justin Townes Earle, Drop Q (Kris Meyers of Umphrey’s McGee, Kalyan Pathak of Fareed Haque Group), Digital Underground, Blueground Undergrass, Garaj Mahal, EOTO (members of String Cheese Incident), The Schwag, Ekoostik Hookah, Tea Leaf Green, Split Lip Rayfield, Devon Allman & Honeytribe, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, and Victor Wooten; and performed on stage with acoustic blues dynamo, Corey Harris, and Chicago blues legend Billy Branch as well. He has toured through IL, MI, WI, MO, IN, TN, NJ, NY, CT, GA, OH, MN, AZ, TX, IA, NE, CO, SD, ND, WY, UT, MT, CA, OR, WA, and BC. He maintains a long mailing list from these regions and schedules over 100 shows a year. He has performed at many festivals around the country and major venues from coast to coast including the House of Blues Chicago main-stage, the Mishawaka Amphitheatre in Colorado, Camp Zoe in Missouri, Summer Camp in Illinois and Horning’s Hideout Amphitheatre in Oregon. In 2009 he performed at dozens of festivals including prime-time main stage slots at Cavefest and Chicago's Metronome Celebration street festival, along with 8(!) appearances at the Summer Camp Festival on a bill with Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Umphreys McGee, Moe, Les Claypool, Keller Williams, John Scofield, Cornmeal, etc. The 2009 Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Fest had him play following multi-grammy winner Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. At the 2009 Bonnaroo festival (featuring Bruce Springsteen, Wilco, Al Green, etc) he gave an hour long 10pm friday set in the gap between the Beastie Boys & Phish. Over 95,000 tickets were sold. In the Summer of 2010 he performed at Bonnaroo (Stevie Wonder & Jay-Z headline), Summer Camp Festival (Govt Mule, Umphrey's Mcgee, Avett Brothers), Hoodilidoo, Cavefest, Funk You Festival, DuckFest, Cosmic Railroad Family Gathering, Wuhnurth Festival, Michigan Peace Fest, America Folk Yeh, Widow’s Peak Music Fest & over 25 music festivals.

Jaik has moved well over 15,000 CDs by hand with no outside assistance, one by one, hand to fan. His song “Leaving Vancouver” was featured on the front page of the Chicago Sun Times website accompanying an article and a 2 page photograph in the paper itself. Chicago Tribune ran a feature article in 2009. His song Checks & Balances was featured on Neil Young's website for over a year. A new album is in the works for 2010.

Jaiks 4-octave voice stretches out in vocal solos, scatting and beatboxing; over his high-energy acoustic guitar work on original songs that are accessible and lyrically intriguing. The focus is on keeping the show fun for the audience.

Jaik is an educated musician, having trained at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Illinois and California State Universities' music departments, and in Hollywood's Musician's Institute as their youngest student when he was 16 years-old. He spent all of his teen-age years practicing 10-16 hours per day. After studying jazz and Euro-classical music, Jaik received an ethno-musicology/ anthropology degree with a thesis on microtonal guitar music from Mauritania. He is always seeking performance opportunities and new avenues forward for his music.

http://myspace.com/jaikwillis jaikwillis@hotmail.com 309 530 9838


Big Sky

Written By: Jaik Willis

BIG SKY 8/03 –jw

Riding down the side of the mountain , like he was part of the hill
See him in a cloud of powder, out there showin off his skills,
till he took a spill, back in Big Sky

well, when I got the telephone it took me totally by surprise
thought she might mean someone else , even though she told me twice
till I saw a couple, of our friends who had been there
they had blisters from shovel, they had dirt under their nails
they said Scruffy bailed ,

back to Big Sky
Took the big ride , up to Big Sky

Living the high-life in Montana, in the clouds above the hills
Didn’t want to back track to the flat-lands , and now he never will
I pulled over on the shoulder, bits of blue glass mixed with gravel
A starfish and a necklace, a guitar pick , Josh we left this
By the cross that marks the spot you brought the highway to a standstill
Up in Big Sky

Well here’s a drink to being local, a shot to be forever young
A hit of smoke and fire through glass and wire, a toast to Josh Richardson
Flying round the crown of the mountain, now he is part of the hill
When real life chases all his friends down , Scruffy will be up there still
He’s up there still,

up in Big Sky
Talk to the big guy , back in Big Sky
Was a good guy , led a good life
Scruffy good-bye , see you in Big Sky
See you in Big Sky


Written By: Jaik Willis


Said I’m Leaving Vancouver
Grass is green cause the sky is grey and when the
Cops on the border
Ask me why I came over
I don’t know what I’ll say

I’ll say I’m learning to love the traveling
half as much as I hate the leaving
I’m looking into my right eye
in the rearview
Looking towards you
Left arm’s tanning on the wheel
Feeling sealed behind a windshield
My left eye’s hunting for deer
and police
like they’re lurking in the shadows
coming to clean me off the streets

Now it’s dark and all I see
Are headlights in front of me
And stars peeking through the trees
Twinkling like airplanes
Taking you to Beijing

I think I drove for 1000 miles
just to say goodbye
I … didn’t even get to see you
Well, I guess who likes goodbye ?
It was worth a try.
Remember when I said I loved you
You were drunk and looking confused
I thought ‘in love’ was a forever thing
But you’re not the same you
and I’m not the same me
It’s a good thing my friend

Now it’s dark and all I see
Are headlights in front of me
And stars peeking through the trees
Twinkling like airplanes
Taking you to Beijing


Anything Possible
Checks & Balances
(New Album in Progress)

Set List

Up to 6 hour sets of mostly original material, with occasional covers of songs from artists like Michael Jackson, Dylan, Zeppelin, Bob Marley, and songs from independent folk artists I have stumbled into along the road.